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Appeals Court Says State Police Dog Bite Victim Can Sue

BOSTON (CBS) - Rick Dudley never used to be afraid of dogs. He is now.

Dudley was mistakenly attacked by an 80 pound State Police K-9 back in 2011. That dog was supposed to be pursuing another man who was fleeing from police in West Bridgewater after jumping out of his truck. The foot pursuit followed a car chase that at points exceeded speeds of 100 miles per hour.

K-9 arrest
Suspect arrested by State Police K-9 unit in West Bridgewater in 2011 (WBZ-TV)

The dog, named Jager, latched on to Dudley while he was standing in a park and ride commuter lot.

Dudley sued the State Police two years later, but in 2015 a judge threw out the case, saying State Police had immunity as a government entity.

Yesterday, the Massachusetts Appeals Court disagreed, saying that State Police lost that immunity privilege when one of its troopers caused "the harmful condition that resulted in injury to the plaintiff."

Rick Dudley
Rick Dudley was mistakenly attacked by a State Police K-9 in 2011 (WBZ-TV)

That K-9 left Rick Dudley with two puncture wounds to his stomach and a large bite would on his leg. He says the incident from 2011 still leaves him "on edge" mentally, and he is still in counseling for it.

The State Police released a statement saying in part:

"The Court's decision only addressed the question of whether the trooper is immune from being sued. It did not speak to the allegation of negligence. We look forward to presenting a vigorous defense to that allegation in court."

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